Hello and welcome to my little section of the cyber world! I'm a working girl who spends most of her spare time surrounded by beads and wire, and when I'm not doing that I'm probably reading or baking... or wedding planning... I have an online shop where I sell my beaded creations, and this is a place for me to talk about anything that strikes me!

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Interview with Haptree

I've finally found my way back online... life has been a bit crazy lately; I've moved house, I'm getting married in 11 days (11 days!) and have got my first round of professional exams in November. Jewellery making has somewhat taken a back seat lately.

But it hasn't taken a back seat for everyone, particularly not for Hilary, the brains behind Haptree on Folksy, as well as her own website, who's shared a bit about her life and craft...

We would like to get to know a bit more about the person behind the craft.

If you were an animal, what would you be? – A horse, possibly with wings.

Cadbury or Galaxy? – Green & Blacks

What film did you last see at the cinema and what did you think of it? – Where the Wild things Are – I thought it was strange, interesting, depressing and yet uplifting.

What is your favourite season? It’s tough as I think I enjoy the beginning of every season and yet I can’t wait for the next.

And now about your work.

What’s the first thing you can remember making?

A green and red stripy knitted rectangle.

What’s your favourite material to work with and why?

I like sewing beautiful Japanese cotton best.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My partner has an amazing attention to detail and I’d like to hope a bit of it has rubbed off on me since we’ve been together.

What’s your best crafty tip?

Measure twice, cut once – it’s boring but saves time and money and four letter words.

What’s your favourite item in your shop? (can you give me a link for it, thanks)

Allways the one I listed most recently!

Also, if you take a trip over to Haptree's blog, you could win yourself a gorgeous selection of items in her competition, including the red purse at the top of the page.

Thanks Hilary!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

Spreading the Prettiness!

I do feel like I've utterly vanished from the online world lately, however, I'm now back and ready to go!

My bracelet has recently spent a couple of weeks with Caroline who runs Red Moon on Folksy, a lovely place to go if you're looking for a unique gift.

With Caroline, the bracelet had an adventurous week, spreading its prettiness all around:
A trip to the park

A bit of football!

"It helped push my youngest son to school to pick daughter up, it did a bit of gardening, went for a Chinese, a walk in the woods, had a picnic and played a bit of football! My daughter also had a little wear."

Walking in the woods


The bracelet is off on a new adventure now; if you would like to take part then leave me a message!

Monday, 19 April 2010

New job and swimming!

I feel very much like I've vanished lately! I started a new job at the beginning of last week and it comes with a fairly hefty commute, and I've spent most of my evenings totally wiped out!

The weekend was good though and I'm very proud of myself as I completed the Marie Curie Swimathon!

It was a great afternoon on Saturday, and myself and two friends managed to swim 5km to raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care, and did it in a faster time than we predicted so were very happy!

So far we've raised about £250 for Marie Curie and are sooooooo happy with it, but if anyone can spare £1 then we are still busy collecting and all donations are incredibly gratefully received.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Interview with Bonnita

It's that time of the week when I talk to another crafter, to find out a bit more about what's out there... This week I'm talking to Bonnita who has a number of shops on Folksy, including Momo made by Moaby, Jucimoon and It's all about the Graphics. So lets talk to this multi talented lady to find out a bit more...

If you were an animal, what would you be?

Any Bird of Prey!

Cadbury or Galaxy?

Galaxy all the way baby!

What film did you last see at the cinema and what did you think of it?

Erm.......Can't remember I rarely go

What is your favourite season?

Autumn, the colours are beautiful

And now about your work.

What’s the first thing you can remember making?

A crochet cupcake that went very wrong lol

What’s your favourite material to work with and why?

Wool, u can do so much with it, knit, crochet, pom poms ect.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

Not really who as a person but a country, Japan and china has a huge influence on me I love their style of Amigurumi.

What’s your best crafty tip?

Enjoy yourself! And spray mount can make a fantastic temporary bond

What’s your favourite item in your shop?

I had so much fun making her, she is a lot bigger than picture makes out too.

Thanks Bonnita!

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Book Review - Engleby by Sebastian Faulks

I've just finished reading 'Engleby' by Sebastian Faulks.

On the back cover one of the press quotes declared this to be different to anything else he'd written. When my bf read this he asked me if the book was depressing, I answered 'yes', to which he said 'well then it's the same as everything else he's written!'.

I loved Sebastian Faulk's book 'Birdsong', and it was that which led me to buy 'Engleby'. This book followed the life of the character Engleby, narrated in the first person, through his childhood, university and career. The standard of writing was brilliant, the storyline flowed and the Engleby himself was at the same time both disturbing and compelling. Despite this, you never feel that you know Engleby or can work out what makes him tick, and that is the purpose of the book: that as his life moves on and mysteries from his past come back to haunt him, you realise that this child who you thought was mildly odd is frighteningly dangerous.

I don't know whether to say I enjoyed the book or not. Something drove me to keep reading, to finish it, but at the end I couldn't say whether I felt it had been a worthwhile experience.

If you like a compelling storyline, mystery, intriguing characters and a hero who isn't a hero, then this book is worth a shot; but I wouldn't declare it to be a book everyone should read.

Picture from amazon.co.uk

Friday, 9 April 2010

A Week's Holiday

I've had a week off work this week and it's been lovely.

Initially I thought I needed to come up with all sorts of exciting, self-improving or impressive things to do; mostly so that when someone asked me what I did I would have something decent to say.

I think I do that too much: do things so that I can sound impressive when I'm talking to others.

But not this week!

I'm feeling much more relaxed than anytime in the last few months, I've finally caught up on sleep, caught up on TV, caught up on talking to my family, caught up on spending time with my Mum, caught up on fresh air and sunshine, restarted going climbing, got around to making some jewellery from precious metal clay 7 years after buying the stuff. And I feel good.

When someone asks me what I did I'll probably say "Not a lot, just chilled out", but in truth this has been the most impressive, the most successful and basically the nicest holiday I've had in a long time.

Don't underestimate a week spent at home!

Monday, 5 April 2010

Interview with Lazy Daisy

First of all, a belated Happy Easter! I hope you've been thoroughly enjoying the bank holiday weekend! Due to the bank holiday I'm a bit delayed in putting up last weeks interview, but here we go... This week I'm talking to Kate from Lazy Daisy, a shop full of fantastic button and glass jewellery!

We would like to get to know a bit more about the person behind the craft.

If you were an animal, what would you be?

A cat, preferably a pampered one.

What is your favourite day of the week?

Friday, I only work half day and the whole weekend is still ahead.

If you were stuck on a desert island, what one thing would you want to have with you?

If I was sensible, a satellite phone, but in reality probably a craft kit!

Who would play you in the film of your life?

Emma Thompson. I would like to say someone more glamorous but fear I may be struck by a thunderbolt!

And now about your work.

How did you get started?

I learnt to crochet at primary school and started making bead earrings at high school.

What’s your favourite material to work with and why?

I love beads and buttons, especially buttons. I used to love emptying out my Grandmother’s button box and sorting through it, I love finding different and interesting buttons and get sadly excited by a new find!!

Where do you go for inspiration?

I always notice what people are wearing. My younger sister is a good source of inspiration as she likes things that are different and less run of the mill.

What’s your best crafty tip?

Try and source materials from the manufacturer.

What’s your favourite item in your shop?

It is usually whatever I last made but at the moment it is a button bracelet made of vintage buttons.

Thanks Kate!

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Folksy Favourites

Hi everyone! After a few hectic days with no time to post, it's time I shared some more beautiful items with you.

I've just been looking at my list of favourite items on Folksy, and it seems to have grown enormously since last week! But the first item is this stunning keyring by NOfkantsCurios, carved from agate.My second pick is from Dottydaisies, and is this absolutely adorable upcycled owl plushie :)And my final item this week is so cute! It's this little gingerbreadman necklace from Mozzypop Jewels:I hope you like them!

Monday, 29 March 2010

Spreading the Prettiness!

Wow, it's been a hectic weekend, but more about that later in the week. For now I'm going to focus on calming, pretty things, and revisit something I posted about a few weeks ago...

You may remember me talking about 'Spreading the Prettiness'; the idea being that a bracelet would roam the country on your wrists, spreading a bit of beaded prettiness and reporting back on its progress as it goes.

The bracelet has recently spent a few weeks in Hampshire in the company of Dottie from DottieDesigns. During that time it was worn, sparkled, admired and complemented, it went out and about and it helped with everyday tasks...

... and stolen by a little girl with a love of pretty things! In Dottie's own words

"My daughter took a real shine to it and wore it a bit too, the picture is of the night that she had snuck into my room and nicked it and was trying to wear it to bed. Bit of a worry as she's not yet 3!!"

The bracelet is now in a new home and reports will be coming in soon so watch this space... and let me know if you'd like to take part!

Friday, 26 March 2010

Interview with Careford Creations

Interview time has come around again, and today I'm talking to Victoria from Careford Creations. Specialising in stunning photography, Victoria's shop also contains beautiful polymer clay creations. I'll leave Victoria to do most of the talking:

Tell us a bit more about the person behind the craft...

Well, my name’s Victoria, or Vic. I live with my husband and son and we have another baby due in April. I was working as a primary school teacher but stopped working last summer to be a full-time mum and spend more time on photography and crafty stuff.

If you were an animal, what would you be?

I’d love to know what’s at the bottom of the ocean, so maybe a really peculiar deep-sea creature!

What is your favourite season?

One thing I love about living in the UK are the seasons and I do like all of them for one reason or the other. Sorry, I really can’t choose!

If you were stuck on a desert island, what one thing would you want to have with you?

I could spend hours reading an atlas! Not necessarily to help me get off the island, but I just find them fascinating.

What’s your favourite colour?

Probably yellow.

And now about your work.

How did you get started?

I’ve been taking photos since I got my first camera for my 9th birthday. I decided to start selling about 10 years ago, although didn’t do a great deal about it for another few years. As for other crafty things, I’ve always loved making stuff, right from when I was very little.

What’s your favourite material to work with and why?

I really love working with Fimo. There’s so much you can do with it. I love experimenting and even when something goes wrong, you often discover something you can use in some way.

Where do you go for inspiration?

Everywhere really! For photos, I may see something on TV or in a book, or just be out and about and the colours, shapes, textures will inspire me to set up a photo. For Fimo, food, animals, travel and fairytales inspire me. So as you see, a bit of everything!

What’s your best crafty tip?

Try out lots of crafts to find one you really enjoy and are good at. When it comes to selling however, I think it’s probably best to stick to one thing...

What’s your favourite item in your shop?

I really like this handbound notebook, with a photo of a pink rose on the cover:

Thanks Victoria!

Thursday, 25 March 2010

I love chain :)

I've been making some new necklaces lately, much simpler than my usual fully beaded designs but striking for all that. I'm trying hard not to just steal them myself...

Though to be honest one of the things I love about making jewellery is the ability to always make a piece of jewellery to match an outfit - even if it's only half an hour before I go out (which has been known!).

For the new necklaces I've been using sterling silver chains as a base and making a beaded pendant to go on it. Generally I'll choose a colour to base the necklace around; sometimes based on a particularly lovely bead that I want to include, and then build the pendant around that colour using glass beads, wire and chain.

This is one of my favourites:I love it partly because of the colour - I think the mix of turquoise and blue works really well, but I also love the little heart pendant that I added as a focal point. The chain that this one is on is a spiral chain; it's a bit more interesting that a basic curb chain and looks really pretty.

One of my other favourites is this purple one:My favourite thing about this necklace is the little cream dove pendant. It's so pretty and goes really well with the purple and white beads which made up the main part of the necklace. I hung this one on a snake chain; it gives a really different effect from the spiral chain I used above as it holds its shape more (you can see the way it curves around rather than hanging to a point) and makes the chain more of a feature of the necklace.

What do you think?

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Folksy Favourites :)

I missed doing Folksy Favourites last week, and since the last one I've found so much gorgeous stuff I just don't know where to start!

I think my first item is going to be one that I only stumbled across yesterday. It comes from a shop called 'Lost at Sea' and is a lovely little brooch. It's such a simple design but so effective, and I love the turquoise colour.Ok, item number two made me smile the first time I saw it, and smile every time I've looked at it since. Absolutely adorable... here is Doris the Duck by Jenbys!Now then, final item for this week, but what to choose?

As someone who is just getting into crochet and so knows the hardship of having balls of wool rolling all over the place (including down the train carriage - apologies to everyone who was on the same train as me the other day!), and who absolutely adores bags, I'm going to plump for this little offering from Nicknots for my final item. A great design for holding your wool while you work, and gorgeous fabric!

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Craft Fair!

Yesterday I did my first craft fair in months, at the Oxford Literary festival. Sales weren't great but we had a good time!

My Mum came to help me out (having someone with you is a must so you've got someone to talk to in those quiet patches!), and we had a lovely day and met some great people on the other stalls :)
Working out how to display the jewellery is always the hard bit. We had two tables so there was plenty of space, and put boxes and cushions under the tablecloths to give some height. I also took the mirror off my dressing table - a nice big mirror for people to admire themselves in and a good place to drape jewellery.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Interview with Midsummer Stitches

Fabric craft this week, and for that we're heading to Midsummer Stitches. Staying true to its name, this shop is full of bright, happy and summery products; pinks, yellows, blues and greens all help to lift your mood and make you feel just a little bit happier for visiting.

Let's have a chat with Julia, the creative mind behind the shop...

If you were an animal, what would you be?

A cat, sleeping in the sunshine on my favourite cushion!

What is your favourite season?

Spring: weather changing, fresh smells and the promise of the summer ahead.

If you were stuck on a desert island, what one thing would you want to have with you?

My partner and two girls, home is where they are....

What’s your favourite colour?

Hmmm, pink no red no both! Can I have both?

And now about your work.

How did you get started?

Making everything as a child with glue cardboard etc (I must have drivin my parents crazy).

Then onto making my own clothes at about 13, feeling the need to stand out (I am sure I did).

Full time student at 25 studying design, soft furnishings and upholstery for three years with two toddlers(interesting).

Taught this for five years, then decided to go it alone I now have a great business making handsewn curtains and creative textile gifts I work full time and I love my job! This morning I have delivered an antique clown costume to a client, posted a vintage fabric cupcake and am about to start a lovely set of velvet Roman blinds for a different client....perfect.

What’s your favourite material to work with and why?

I think it has to be silk, from a corsage to a huge pair of curtains it looks and feels wonderful, its crisp texture and range of colours is unbeatable

Where do you go for inspiration?

Well, some days a blowy walk with the dogs can fire me up, tomorrow im off to London looking around the markets and the vibe of that is always good, but for me a lazy day wandering around Stratford is great sitting by the water....hmmm roll on sunshine?

What's your best crafty tip?
Take a notepad, Im always scribbling ideas, sometimes I find pictures I don’t even remember doing and you cant always find a napkin when you need one!

What’s your favourite item in your shop?

I think this decorative blooms bag

I love the colour combination and really enjoyed making it, im working on some more bags at the minute with a similar theme but a variety of colour and sizes...after all you can never have too many bags right?

Too right you can never have too many bags... :D Thanks Julia!

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Cake Making!

I had so much fun at the weekend. It was my fiance's birthday last week and we were having a party on Saturday night. I love making and decorating cakes so I said I'd make one for him. The only question was... how to decorate it?

Over the last few months his housemate has been getting him into the XBox (specifically Call of Duty - you know, the bloke-type game involving running around and shooting people) and it's been a bit of a standing joke, so I decided to make him a relevant cake. So here it is...

... the XBox controller birthday cake!!! :D It went down very well - caused a lot of amusement!

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Book Review - Meltdown by Ben Elton

I've just finished reading 'Meltdown' by Ben Elton. I've been an avid reader of his books for a number of years now; his style of writing is so dry and he doesn't even try to pretend that he's not ripping off the X-Factor (in Chart Throb), transport systems (Gridlock) or Big Brother (Dead Famous). His general style is to take something that's happening at the moment - whether it's a TV programme or a political or social movement, and to run it to the absolute extreme. His humour is brilliant, and it's so easy to recognise yourself in so many of his characters.

However, I've found his last couple of books to be somewhat lacking. 'Chart Throb' I found to be annoyingly repetitive (though as this is the same effect that X Factor has on me maybe it did its job!) and Blind Faith to be just a bit too extreme so it became unbelieveable.

It was fantastic therefore, to see him return to form in his latest offering, 'Meltdown'. This book follows a group of high flying friends through the credit crunch as their fortunes (and friendships) take a nosedive. He looks at the banking crisis (the first bank to go under is Caledonian Granite, reminiscent of Northern Rock anyone?!), cash for honours, MPs expenses, insider trading and the the property market. With such a wealth of subject material he can really go to town on developing a great cast of characters, some of whom you love and some of whom you want to slap.

If the credit crunch has been getting you down and you can't see the funny side, then read this book. The subject matter may be serious but the writing is hilarious.

(Picture from www.amazon.co.uk)

Monday, 15 March 2010


I'm wearing an incredibly pretty necklace today. My Mum commented on it first thing this morning, and for once I had to say that I didn't make it, it was made by Zoe of Jewelbox.

Last week I took part in a 'swap' on Folksy. It's a fairly simple premise - everyone sends a small gift to someone else, and gets one in return. I was so excited when a package arrived on the doorstep, and when I opened it I was wowed by what I'd been sent.

I received a gorgeous peach coloured necklace and bracelet set made with swarovski crystals. The necklace is really pretty and delicate - perfect to wear under a blouse at work, making me feel dressed up without being too overstated. The bracelet is made on memory wire which always looks fantastic, but I love the simplicity of the design and (it always being the finishing touches that make something special) the little bunch of crystals hanging off one end of the bracelet.

So thank you Zoe! I love my swap! And if you're looking for a really pretty piece of jewellery of fantastic quality, then take a look in Jewelbox.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Interview with Sugar & Rhubarb

My interview for this week is with Gemma who runs a shop I just can't get enough of. Just when you think it's all calm and pretty textiles - door stops, tea cosies and brooches, WHAM! there is a ninja kitty! So here we go chatting to the owner of Sugar & Rhubarb.

If you were a colour, what would you be?

Pink with blue polka dots, I’d be lying to myself if I said something plain!

Cadbury or Galaxy?

Oooh this is hard.... Cadburys crème egg, but galaxy chocolate bar- one of those embarrassingly huge ones, that you should never eat alone, but you do.

If you were stuck on a desert island, what one thing would you want to have with you?

Yumyums... but only if I could take more than one – it would be too cruel if there was just one.

Who would you want to play you in the film of your life?

Obviously someone as stunning as myself... Scarlett Johanson might be a good match ;)

And now about your work.

What’s the first thing you can remember making?

It was a lavender bot... a little lavender filled sphere with a face on. I hadn’t mastered sewing very well and it was a bit wonky... slightly

embarrassing really. I made loads and tried to sell them at a vintage fair with my friend who was selling off most of her wardrobe. The price progressively went down from £3 to 90p during the day. It caught the eye of a few kiddies, so that was nice to see their little faces light up when they paid for one. It wasn’t really my target market but it gave me a warm glow nonetheless!

What’s your favourite material to work with and why?

Any pretty cotton fabric. I love anything by Heather Ross, Kokka, Amy Butler, Liberty and Cath Kidston. I could spend hours in places like Ditto in Brighton just ooh-ing and ahh-ing at prints.

Who has been your biggest inspiration?

My cat... no must be serious for these interviews ... think business head. People like Poppy Treffry and Anna from Widget the Sock Bunny – they show that your once small ideas can turn into a worldwide phenomenon,

What’s your best crafty tip?

Have faith in your skills and never price too low! It takes a lot to have confidence in yourself and your creations, and too many people suffer from self doubt and price too low. Woody had a wonderful blog entry on pricing your stuff so that you can make a profit, and it’s surprising how much better I feel about listing my items on folksy and etsy now that I know I’m making a small profit from each sale I make.

What’s your favourite item in your shop?

It has to be Ninja Kitty. He took a lot of failed attempts and learning to get where he is now. He’s even got his own blog which makes me giggle whenever I write entries – I am of the LolCatz generation and having his blog lets me write those silly thoughts I have about cats without looking too strange because I can say an inanimate object wrote them!!

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Ladies that Lunch

I've just been offered a new job! I should be starting in April and I'm really starting to look forward to it, hopefully I'll still have enough time for jewellery making too!

My new job involves a bit of a commute, so unfortunately I'll no longer be able to meet my Mum for the odd long lunch and bit of shopping in the middle of the day...

The excuse of a new job to buy lovely new clothes has not been lost on me, but unfortunately with a rather detrimental effect on my bank account, not yet half way through the month and the money is gone! Ah well!

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Folksy Favourites :)

I've been off searching Folksy again, not that it takes much searching to find some amazing things!

One shop that I stumbled across this week is OhGosh!, and oh gosh what a gorgeous shop it is (expecially for this self confessed bag addict!). This stunning green leather purse is just one example of one of the many items I love in this shop, but I could go on forever; why buy a mass produced bag or purse when you can get a unique item so stunningly handmade?
Going along a totally different vein now, I spent a lot of time this week browsing noodlebubble. I love the brooches and buttons, and the bright colours always lift my mood. One thing I especially love is these giant buttons; measuring an amazing 50 mm across, I have hundreds of great ideas for them - from scarves to hats to cardigans, oh boy you could have a lot of fun with these!
My final choice this week comes from Cherryloco. I was having a bit of a down day, and browsing online for some retail therapy when I stumbled across these earrings. Who could fail to be cheered up by the happy smile and the thought of blue skies and white fluffy clouds? The workmanship in all the products is amazing, definitely worth taking a look.
I hope you like these picks, I'll be back with more next week!

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Cheese & Potato Pie Recipe

Ooh now this is a lovely lovely recipe. My Mum's been making it as long as I can remember, it tastes gorgeously cheesey and also ticks the comfort food box.

Here we go then....

Slice up a pile of potatoes into slices maybe 0.5cm thick.
Slice up a couple of onions.
Grate a huuuuuuuge pile of cheese.

Take a casserole dish and fill it with layers of potato, onion and lots and lots of cheese. When the dish is full, pour milk on until the milk comes up to around 1cm below the brim.

Put it in the oven and bake for.... 3 - 4 hours. It seriously does take that long to cook as it's really dense and you need the potato to get really soft. If you don't have that long, then stick it in the microwave for 10 or 15 minutes first to get it hot through, then you can put it in the oven for around 1 hr and it should be fine. Check it's cooked by sticking a knife in the middle, if the potato is properly cooked then it should go in really easily.

Dish up piles of the cheesey goodness and enjoy!